3913 PTE. H. BRIERLEY. L.N.LAN.R.
(I am grateful to Janet Davis for the newspaper article and pointing me in the right direction to find Census information about the Brierley and Kendall families).
Henry (Harry) Brierley was born on 11 October 1897 at Mill Hill near Blackburn and baptised at St. Francis, Feniscliffe. His father, also Henry Brierley, was born in 1868 in Preston – occupation iron moulder. His mother was Elizabeth Ann Salisbury born in Kirkham in 1868. Elizabeth already had an illegitimate daughter, Mary Jane b. 1889, when she married Henry Brierley at St. Mark’s Church, Preston on 14th April 1892. Henry Snr died in 1909 and Elizabeth re-married in 1913 to Jesse Kendall (b. 1872 in Preston). Jesse, Harry’s stepfather, enlisted in 1914, although at the time he was above the service age, and was killed at Le Touret on 22 December 1914. He was 4115 PTE. J. KENDALL. L.N.LAN.R.
In 1911, Harry, his mother and sister Isabella and step-sister Mary Jane, were living at 73 Byron Street in Preston, and Harry had just started work (at 13) as an office boy. (As a note, Byron Street no longer exists but it was under what is now UCLAN Students Union). From the newspaper article, we learn that by the outbreak of War Harry was working as an engine cleaner in Lostock Hall. According to UK Soldiers Died in the Great War, he enlisted in Preston and served in 1/4Bn. He landed in France on 13 October 1915 (two days after his 18th birthday).
1/4Bn was engaged in the Battle of the Somme, taking up its appointed place in the line opposite the village of Guillemont on 30 July 1916. Guillemont had proved to be a serious obstacle to Allied progress and the task of the Division was to take the village in order to facilitate the general advance. On the night of 8 August, the battalion assembled in trenches east and west of a road running south from Trones Wood. The attack commenced at 4.20 in the morning, but was not a success. Considerable confusion was caused by the mist and the enemy’s use of smoke bombs. 3 officers and 9 other ranks were initially reported killed, 3 officers and 97 other ranks wounded, and 107 other ranks reported missing. In fact, when the records were finalised, 52 men of 1/4Bn were recorded as losing their lives that day. As with most of the men who fell that day, Harry’s body was never found and he is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial. He was still just 18 years old.
According to UK Army Register of Soldiers’ Effects, his next of kin and sole legatee was his mother, Elizabeth Ann Kendall. In 1916, on his death, his mother received his effects of £2 6s 11d and after the War she received a War Gratuity of £4 10s.
Service No: 3913
Date of Death: 08/08/1916
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st/4th Bn.
Panel Reference: Pier and Face 11 A.
Memorial: THIEPVAL MEMORIAL